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Ignatios, patriarch of Constantinople (847–58, 867–77)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.862 (formerly Fogg 862)
Diameter 34 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 112.1; T. Whittemore, “An Unpublished Seal of Patriarch Ignatios,” Byzantina-Metabyzantina 1 (1946): 261–66; Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6b; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 5; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 52. For similar seals, but from different boulloteria, see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6c and Münz Zentrum, Sale 75, 14–16 April 1993, no. 1589.

Obverse

Bust of Christ, with a nimbus cruciger, raising his right hand in blessing and holding in his left a book decorated with a cross. Vertical inscription on either side. Triple border of dots.

ΙΥ          Η
ΧΕ         Γ
ΚΕ         Ο
              Υ

Ἰ(ησο)ῦ Χ(ριστ)ὲ Κ(ύρι)ε ἡγοῦ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines, preceded and followed by a row of crosslets. Triple border of dots.


ΙΓΝΑΤΙ
.Υ.ΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚ
.ΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝ
.ΟΛΕΩΣΝΕΑΣ
ΡΩΜΗΣ

Ἰγνατί[ο]υ [ἀ]ρχιεπισκ(όπου) [Κ]ωνσταντινου[π]όλεως Νέας Ῥώμης.

Translation

Ἰησοῦ Χριστὲ Κύριε ἡγοῦ Ἰγνατίου ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης.

Lord Jesus Christ, guide Ignatios, archbishop [patriarch] of Constantinople, the New Rome.

Commentary

Ignatios, who is a saint of the Orthodox Church (feastday 23 October; see Syn. Eccl. CP, cols. 158–59), was born at Constantinople about 797/98 and was christened Niketas. He was the son of Michael the kouropalates (the future Michael I Rhangabe), who married the daughter of Emperor Nikephoros I, Prokopia, who also bore Theophylaktos and Staurakios. Following his father’s defeat at Versinikia in 813 and his abdication, Niketas (Ignatios), along with his brothers, was castrated and was coerced into a monastic career. According to Skylitzes (106, line 21) he became, prior to ascending the patriarchal throne, hegoumenos of the μονὴ τοῦ Σατύρου, a sanctuary located in Bithynia in the port town of the same name. Janin is skeptical; in his opinion (Grands centres, 42), Ignatios was the founder of the monastery and church dedicated to Archangel Michael built on property facing the Princes’ Islands. According to the Byzantine historians Symeon Magister and George the Monk this construction occurred in 873/74. He was the empress Theodora’s choice to succeed Patriarch Methodios, but his support evaporated when Caesar Bardas sent Theodora into exile. As a result Ignatios was forced to abdicate and to retire first to the island of Terebinthos, at a monastery he had founded there, and later to Mytilene. Photios succeeded him, but in 867 he in turn was forced to step down and was replaced by Ignatios. Upon his death Ignatios was buried at the μονὴ τοῦ Σατύρου, where he had seen fit to have his father’s remains interred as well. Photios, who once again became patriarch, was active in bringing about Ignatios’s sainthood. See ODB 2:983–84 and Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit 2, no. 2666.

Two different types of seals bear this patriarch’s name. This first, the present type, is decorated on the obverse with a bust of Christ. The second, which is preserved in the Hermitage Collection (see: Dated Lead Seals, no. 51, and Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6a) portrays Christ standing on the obverse, with his right hand raised in blessing and his left holding a book; in columns on either side: O|Θ|E|O|S-H|Γ|O|V: Ὁ Θεὸς ἡγοῦ. As Oikonomides observes, there is no compelling reason for assigning either seal to one or the other of Ignatios’s two reigns.

On this specimen the cover of the book that Christ holds is decorated with a cross. On the Zacos seal (Seals 2: no. 6c) the decoration consists of three rows of dots.

Ignatios’s seals are the first to bear the title ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης. It should be noted, however, that a seal of his predecessor, John VII Grammatikos, identifies this patriarch as ἐπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νέας Ῥώμης (see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 4; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 49).

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.862 (formerly Fogg 862)
Diameter 34 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 112.1; T. Whittemore, “An Unpublished Seal of Patriarch Ignatios,” Byzantina-Metabyzantina 1 (1946): 261–66; Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6b; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 5; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 52. For similar seals, but from different boulloteria, see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6c and Münz Zentrum, Sale 75, 14–16 April 1993, no. 1589.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.862 (formerly Fogg 862)
Diameter 34 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 112.1; T. Whittemore, “An Unpublished Seal of Patriarch Ignatios,” Byzantina-Metabyzantina 1 (1946): 261–66; Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6b; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 5; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 52. For similar seals, but from different boulloteria, see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6c and Münz Zentrum, Sale 75, 14–16 April 1993, no. 1589.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.862 (formerly Fogg 862)
Diameter 34 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 112.1; T. Whittemore, “An Unpublished Seal of Patriarch Ignatios,” Byzantina-Metabyzantina 1 (1946): 261–66; Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6b; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 5; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 52. For similar seals, but from different boulloteria, see Zacos, Seals 2: no. 6c and Münz Zentrum, Sale 75, 14–16 April 1993, no. 1589.

Parallels

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